September 19, 1922 – November 22, 2000
Emil Zatopek was a Czech long-distance runner best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He won gold in the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres runs, but his final medal came when he decided at the last minute to compete in the first marathon of his life. He was nicknamed the “Czech Locomotive”.
Zatopek was the first athlete to break the 29-minute barrier in the 10 km run (in 1954). Three years earlier, in 1951, he had broken the hour for running 20 km. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest runners of the 20th century and was also known for his brutally tough training methods. In February 2013, the editors at Runner’s World Magazine selected him as the Greatest Runner of All Time.He is the only person to win the 5,000 metres, 10,000 metres, and marathon in the same Olympiad.